John Page (Virginia politician)

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John Page
John Page Rosewell Gloucester County Virginia.jpg
13th Governor of Virginia
In office
December 1, 1802 – December 7, 1805
Preceded byJames Monroe
Succeeded byWilliam H. Cabell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 12th district
In office
March 4, 1793 – March 3, 1797
Preceded byDistrict established
Succeeded byThomas Evans
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 7th district
In office
March 4, 1789 – March 3, 1793
Preceded byDistrict established
Succeeded byAbraham B. Venable
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Gloucester County
In office
Alongside William Hall
In office
Alongside William Hall
In office
Alongside Thomas Smith, Jr.
In office
Alongside Thomas Smith, Jr.
In office
Alongside Thomas Smith, Jr.
President of the Virginia Council of State
In office
Personal details
Born(1743-04-28)April 28, 1743
April 17, 1743 (O.S.)
Rosewell Plantation, Colony of Virginia, British America
DiedOctober 11, 1808(1808-10-11) (aged 65)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
Spouse(s)Frances Burwell
Alma materCollege of William and Mary
Military service
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
United States of America
Branch/serviceVirginia militia
Battles/warsFrench and Indian War
American Revolutionary War

John Page (April 28, 1743 – October 11, 1808) was a figure in early United States history. He served in the U.S. Congress and as the 13th Governor of Virginia.

Life and career[edit]

Page was born and lived at Rosewell Plantation in Gloucester County. He was the son of Alice (Grymes) and Mann Page. His great-great-grandfather was Colonel John Page (1628–1692), an English merchant from Middlesex who emigrated to Virginia with his wife Alice Lucken Page and settled in Middle Plantation. He was the brother of Mann Page III.

Governor John Page House, Williamsburg

John Page graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1763, where he was a friend and closest college classmate of Thomas Jefferson, having exchanged a great deal of correspondence. He then served under George Washington in an expedition during the French and Indian War. He was a delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1776. He also served during the American Revolutionary War as an officer in the Virginia state militia, raising a regiment from Gloucester County and supplementing it with personal funds. During that war, he attained the rank of colonel.

Page was also involved in politics. He became the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia and served 1776–1779. He was then a member of the Virginia House of Delegates 1781–1783 and 1785 – 1788. Page was elected to the First United States Congress and reelected to the Second and Third, and to the Fourth as a Republican. Overall, he was Congressman from March 4, 1789 to March 3, 1797.

After his terms in Congress, he was again a member of the Virginia House of Delegates in 1797, 1798, 1800, and 1801. He became the Governor of Virginia in 1802 and served to 1805. After being governor, he was appointed United States commissioner of loans for Virginia and held office until his death in Richmond, Virginia on October 11, 1808.

Broadside, order by John Page, president of the council, ordering state militia to be trained and prepared for battle, August 20, 1776

He was interred in St. John's Churchyard in Richmond.

John Page was married in 1765 to Frances Burwell daughter of Col Robert "Robin" Burwell, together they had 12 children though only 7 lived to adulthood. Of the seven adult children five married children of Gov. Thomas Nelson thereby forging a major alliance between the Page and Nelson families, there was also Burwell blood on both sides, the Burwell's by these marriages became close relatives of the Page & Nelson families for at least three generations. John Page was instrumental in getting Frances' brother Nathaniel appointed to the Governor's council and together Page and Burwell opposed Lord Dunmore's proclamation against Patrick Henry. Page and Burwell building the council that read like a list of Patriots, there stand against Britain shaping the American Revolution.

John Page was married to the early American poet, Margaret Lowther Page (1759–1835), who was host to a vibrant literary salon at the Rosewell Plantation. John Page himself was also a poet who wrote several poems about national political issues, including Shay's rebellion and the Virginia Religious Disestablishment Act (Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom). Page's niece by marriage, Judith Lomax, was also a poet.[1]

Governor Page was quoted by George W. Bush in his inaugural address in 2001. Writing to his friend Jefferson shortly after the Declaration of Independence was published, Page said of the Declaration and the Revolution: "We know the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong. Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm".[2]

Remains of Page's Plantation, Rosewell, burned in 1916


The Page family is one of the First Families of Virginia. Its members include Colonel John Page, Governor John Page, his brother Mann Page, U.S. Ambassador to Italy Thomas Nelson Page, and Virginian Railway builder William Nelson Page.

Page County, Virginia, located in the Shenandoah Valley, was formed in 1831 and named for Governor John Page. Also bearing his name is a residence hall at the College of William and Mary.[3]

Electoral history[edit]

  • 1789; Page was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives defeating Spencer Roane and Meriwether Smith
  • 1790; Page was re-elected unopposed.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ David S. Shields (2007). American Poetry: The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Library of America. ISBN 978-1-931082-90-7.
  2. ^ Bobrick, Benson: Angel in the Whirlwind. Simon and Schuster, 1997
  3. ^ "William & Mary- Harrison & Page Halls". Retrieved July 2, 2016.

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
District established
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
Abraham B. Venable
Preceded by
District established
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 12th congressional district

Succeeded by
Thomas Evans
Political offices
Preceded by
James Monroe
Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by
William H. Cabell